The recent Q1 Hiring Forecast from Brilliant, a Chicago-based search, staffing, and management resources firm specializing in accounting, finance, and information technology, indicates an increase in open accounting, finance, and information technology (IT) positions heading into the first quarter of 2018.

The Q1 Hiring Forecast, published last month, also indicates businesses are planning to increase their overall hiring plans in the next 12 months, especially in IT.

The Brilliant Q1 2018 Hiring Forecast, produced in partnership with Dr. Richard Curtin, Director of Consumer Surveys at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, studies the hiring trends and business factors affecting accounting, finance, and information technology professionals for the greater Chicago and south Florida labor markets.

Brilliant President Jeff Mariola says, “Our study brings important insight into the future of the accounting, finance, and information technology professions, and the overall health of the labor market. We remain optimistic that consistent and elevated numbers of open positions and plans to hire indicate continued growth at least in the near term.”

The study found 40 percent of businesses are reporting unfilled jobs in accounting and finance, and 28 percent are reporting openings in IT. These numbers have increased from last quarter, especially for IT, which marked the highest percentage of openings reported in the past year.

Last quarter, the study found 38 percent of businesses with accounting and finance openings, and 19 percent with IT vacancies.

“Four-in-10 human resources professionals and hiring managers reported unfilled jobs in accounting and finance, and nearly 1-in-3 reported openings for IT,” Curtain explains. “While the overall number of open accounting and finance jobs exceeded IT positions, the change during the past year was dominated by a sharp rise in the number of available IT positions.”

The greatest number of openings in the accounting and finance professions, according to the forecast, were found in corporate accounting roles, where financial analysts, tax and general accountants, and internal auditors are in greatest demand.

Mariola says he believes these trends from the Chicago and Florida markets will reflect national hiring trends for all of these professions during the first quarter of 2018.

“Recent national surveys and forecasts from companies like CareerBuilder and Indeed support our forecast that hiring for professionals will see continued demand. Furthermore, the Big 4 firms are actively hiring new graduates and experienced professionals which puts a strain on supply,” Mariola said.

Mariola believes demand is increasing in the accounting profession due to overall growth of the economy. “As companies continue to grow their businesses, the need for talented accounting professionals increases. More and more companies understand the value of having good talent in their accounting team,” Mariola says.

Increased openings in the accounting profession may sound like a mixed blessing for accounting firm leaders who are still struggling to fill open position due to the profession’s ongoing talent shortage, but, Mariola says, there are indicators relief may be on the horizon for those hoping to fill accounting positions.

“Accounting graduate numbers have finally begun to improve over the last few years,” Mariola says. In the past, Mariola says, the CPA 150 hour requirement did adversely impact the number of students pursuing a degree in accounting, as many students chose finance, computer science, and engineering over an accounting major due to the increased educational requirements.

“Now, however, with such strong demand for new accounting graduates and CPAs,” Mariola says, “we are seeing some level of growth among accounting graduates.”

The Brilliant Q1 2018 Hiring Forecast survey was conducted between October 24, 2017, and November 6, 2017. Close to 300 human resources professionals and hiring managers responsible for hiring accounting, finance and/or information technology professionals within industries such as manufacturing, distribution, health care, consumer products, financial services, professional services, retail, real estate, insurance, technology, media, software, nonprofit organizations and other industries participated in the study.

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